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3 FAQs about LGBT discrimination in California

Now that Pride Month is here, it is an important time for members of the LGBT community in California to celebrate their identities. One reason to celebrate is the fact that there are workplace protections in place for this community. It is illegal for most employers in California to discriminate against applicants or employees because of sexual orientation or gender identity. 

If you are the victim of LGBT discrimination, you may be able to file a complaint and lawsuit. Below are answers to some common questions about how California law protects workers from this type of discrimination.

1. What law protects LGBT workers from discrimination?

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act states that it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. According to the FEHA, employers should not make any employment decisions based on real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Illegal acts include:

  • Refusing to hire
  • Refusing to train
  • Demoting
  • Firing
  • Reducing pay
  • Denying equal pay
  • Denying a promotion
  • Denying benefits
  • Refusing eligible family leave

Any form of discrimination or harassment by an employer is a violation of California law. 

2. How do I know if I am facing LGBT discrimination?

Sometimes, discriminatory behavior is not obvious. Here are some red flags:

  • Making jokes about your sexual orientation
  • Making jokes about your sex life
  • Asking questions about your sex life
  • Causing LGBT workers to take on different tasks
  • Sudden negative performance reviews
  • Allowing sexual harassment
  • Firing you when you come out

Anything that creates a hostile work environment may constitute harassment or discrimination. 

3. What can I do about LGBT discrimination?

If you believe you are the victim of discrimination because of your identity, you may be able to file a complaint with the state. Then, you may have the option to bring a civil lawsuit against your employer for discriminating against you.

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